Bike touring tunes: Socalled
Earbuds and a good playlist helped pass the evenings and drown out ‘other people’s children’ at the campground while I biked through the Eastern Townships. Earbuds: don’t leave home without them.
Now, I am a long-time Chilly Gonzales fan, so when he tweeted to check out his pal, Socalled, I followed the links and instantly found a pile of new music to add to my playlist. If I’m lucky, I can find one or two songs a month that really hit that sweet spot between creative, lyrical and quirky. So, it’s rare that I download an entire album. Or two. I was hooked.
While waiting for his new album to be released in August, I rented his Socalled Music documentary and was really stunned at the quality of his music and baffled that he was rather unknown locally. Although, a search of Youtube and his tour schedule seems to indicate he’s been popular for a long time outside of Canada. Of course. You can’t be popular in Canada unless you leave.
I fell hard for the hyper localism of Montreal in his lyrics, the mix of traditional folk melodies with rap, funk and a little bit from columns A-Z. His bandmates, each world class on their own, make for one ultra-talented ensemble.
His music traveled with me as I biked. Along quiet stretches of the Route Verte “You are never alone” and pushing the darn Brompton up a rocky, unpaved road “Work with what you got”. It was my trip’s soundtrack.
I ended up making last minute plans to return to Montreal to see his “back to school” concert and was surprised how many songs opening acts play these days. Verdict: too many. The audience was made up of some pretty drunk McGill students, quiet hipsters, me and someone’s parents. I was glad to not be the oldest person there. Mid-thirties represent!
The band put on a great show – perhaps a bit disappointing that it wasn’t a sell-out crowd. It reminded me of how Chilly’s Ottawa show had not sold-out. I mean, PEOPLE. C’MON. Oh well… their loss is my gain.
I can’t recommend Socalled enough. Get on this Canada. And NO EXCUSES, Ottawa – he’ll be here on September 12.
Thanks for keeping my pedals turning.